- PlacesForBikes, a program run by the national bicycling advocacy group PeopleForBikes, recently launched its inaugural City Rankings Program to evaluate which cities and communities are the best for bicycle riders.
- The program evaluated 480 cities on five factors: "ridership," which reflects how many people ride bikes in the area; "safety," which considers fatalities and injuries; "network," which evaluates how well the city is connected; "reach," or how well the network serves different demographics of people; and "acceleration," or how quickly a city is improving its biking infrastructure and programs.
- Fort Collins, CO landed the top spot in the rankings, followed by Wausau, WI; Boulder, CO; Portland, OR and Tucson, AZ.
The system's rating process is considerably detailed and took two years to create, according to Bicycling. PlacesForBikes compiled a significant amount of data — community surveys, network analyses, national census information, fatality data, and various other information from government and private sector sources — and laid out what is essentially a roadmap for cities to learn from each other and improve their biking systems.
Of all five categories, Fort Collins saw the highest marks in safety — a nod to city initiatives such as the Bicycle Friendly Driver Program aimed to educate drivers and cyclists on how to share the road and navigate various bicycle-related infrastructure. The city has also worked to add protected bike lanes and center turn lanes for increased safety.
While Fort Collins was crowned with the No. 1 spot overall, it is notable that the city only scored 3.5 out of 5 stars total — in fact, only 13 cities scored 3 stars or higher, indicating there is significant amount of work to be done nationwide.
As more bike-share services come into cities, including dockless services such as LimeBike and Jump, it will become increasingly important for cities to not only invest in infrastructure, but to consider data collection systems that will provide insights on the city's bicycling status. Portland — ranked fourth on the list — recently partnered with startup Ride Report to collect feedback from bicyclists on experiences and needs while riding.